Community Week offers Middle School students experiences beyond the traditional classroom. During Community Week (September 12-16), students traipsed through nature trails, collaborated in team-building activities, tapped into their creativity, and immersed themselves in new ways of thinking. They also had a lot of fun!
“Middle School Community Week is a highly anticipated week that gives students opportunities to get to know their classmates and teachers better, hone their collaborative skills, test themselves during ‘challenge activities,’ and create lasting memories!” said Middle School Director Susan Atkinson. “When stepping out of the classroom — and outside their comfort zones — students build both their confidence and their curiosity about the broader community.”
Free Play and Muddy Art
At Wildrock, a nature playscape in the Blue Ridge foothills, sixth graders got their hands dirty with “mud art” — a squishy, giggle-inducing mess. Students gathered water from the creek and iron-rich soil from the mountainside, and then created “paint brushes” using flora from the bird sanctuary. During “Escape the Forest Nook,” they toured the different landscapes of the property while participating in a scavenger hunt and learning about seed dispersal, erosion, habitats, and native species. Wildrock was founded by Carolyn Schuyler
, Steward’s recent Visiting Innovator
, who in 2021 shared with Spartans of all ages the importance of “play” as a foundation of learning and healing.
Back on campus, our sixth graders tie-dyed T-shirts, attended a workshop on the importance of good manners, and joined forces in team-building exercises on Steward’s athletic fields. Steward Snaps from Grade 6 Community Week
Field Trips and Team Building
For seventh graders, Community Week was jam-packed with activities, from team building to a digital archives presentation on Steward’s history from Shahwar Qureshi ’90
, director of technology. They also learned how to cite primary sources when conducting research, thanks to a workshop led by Crystal Hamlin
, Middle School/Upper School librarian. Field trips to the Virginia Museum of History and Culture, Maymont, and Washington, D.C., rounded out the exciting week. Steward Snaps from Grade 7 Community Week
Into the Wilderness
At Wilderness Adventure in the Blue Ridge mountains, eighth graders enjoyed a technology-free, fast-paced week filled with outdoor and indoor fun both challenging and educational. Students tackled a ropes course, scaled new heights on a climbing wall, and whizzed through the air via a zipline. They also discovered new terrain with mountain biking and explored the wonders of caving. In the evenings, campers met in activity groups to debrief the day, enjoyed treats like s’mores and popcorn, and played board games and card games.Steward Snaps from Grade 8 Community Week